The Ex-Factor: Is Simon Cowell Losing His Grip Of The Music industry?

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Music industry mogul Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell is one of the most influential and famous music industry moguls in the world. He has dedicated his life to building solid brands such as his label “Syco” and worldwide talent competitions like The X Factor,American Idol and two “Got Talent” programmes in the U.K. and U.S.

The success he has acheived in his career cannot be disputed. However, in recent years it has been no secret that rating on all of his shows have dropped significantly, it even looks like The X Factor UK is getting either axed completely or given a complete overhaul by Simon and his team.

THE X FACTOR: Logo.
THE X FACTOR: Logo.

Well, that looked like the plan anyway. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be gaining the backing that Mr Cowell had hoped for. This coupled with the ever dropping ratings and the recent shocking news of girlband “Little Mix” parting ways with Simon’s label “Syco” really has made me start to wonder if the music mogul is losing his touch and influence within the music scene.

Although he has been known to give stars the breakout they have been waiting for (Louisa Johnson, One Direction and Olly Murs are the top three examples), his shows have also been plauged with negative press, with accusations of fixing and many former contestants  openly speaking about the fact that they had no control over their song choice during the audition process and at other stages in the competition.

Capital FM Summertime Ball
Capital FM Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium – Arrivals Featuring: Louisa Johnson Where: London, United Kingdom When: 11 Jun 2016 Credit: WENN.com

In my mind, there isn’t really any use for shows like X Factor and Got Talent anymore. The shows have become less about talent and more about commical acts gaining airtime to drum up ratings, Simon has lost sight of what the music industry is about and is ruining careers before they’ve even started in some cases.

Furthermore, musicians and artists are becoming increasingly aware of how easy it is to release their own music without the need for a contract with a big label. I think that this will be the ultimate cause for Cowell’s downfall.

 

He has created success stories I won’t deny that. Equally, he has used artist’s lack of knowledge to take advantage of them during the most crucial time in their career. Simon isn’t the only selfish big name in the industry, but I think he has made too many mistakes and that his time at the top is coming to an end.

I know he won’t give up without a fight, but a fight means doing desperate things and the first thing that’s going to happen is the increase in low-standard contestants being placed on TV for commical appeal to increase ratings. I for one, am not looking forward to the industry being turned into a circus for the benefit of one person.

Has the biggest industry name become an ex-factor in today’s modern music world? I guess we shall have to wait and see.

 

5 Things I’ve learnt from my 3 weeks at The Edinburgh Fringe

For those of my readers that don’t know, I have been working up in Edinburgh for the last few weeks as part of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Edinburgh Fringe is arguably one of the biggest performing arts festivals in the world, theatre companies come from all over to showcase their productions to huge audiences and reviewers across the whole of the fringe.

I am currently on keys for one of these shows, “Seduction.” Written and perfumed by Ivy Paige (The Voice 2018), it is a mash up of Music and comedy, focusing on the art of Seduction and the empowerment of women in todays society, with a mixture of original material and well known covers thrown in to accompany Ivy’s wicked sense of humor.

This is my first tine at the world renowned Fringe, and here are five important things I have learnt during my time here:

1) It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

This is a phrase I heard continuously from Ivy during the rehearsal period and general build up to day 1 of performances. I must admit I didn’t entirely know what she meant at first, but as we did more shows, had more late nights, it dawned on me how essential it was to rest and get enough sleep.

2) Focus Focus Focus!

As the set up of the shows is literally keys and 2 vocals, it is literally IMPOSSIBLE to hide behind other members of a band if you get stuck. This is why I have to do everything in my power to remain switched on during the show, constantly watching Ivy for different cues for elongating or ending the songs. Writing charts for the show has also helped, doing it from memory just wouldn’t have worked.

3) Develop your own pre-show routines and rituals.

I have always done this for any show run or tour I’ve been a part of but during this show, it feels even more important to the success of my performance every night. I personally like to have a cup of tea and some Nutella on toast before each show, it may sound strange but tea calms me down and the Nutella on toast gives me a little sugar boost. I also walk to the venue every night, this allows me to take in some nice Scottish scenery and clear my head.

4) Network as much as you can

The great thing about being at a month long festival is that you’re surrounded by musicians, producers, directors, sound techs and other creative people from day one. It would be highly beneficial to your career as a musician to get to know all the people on your team, no matter their job role, it could come in handy in the future.

5) Have fun!

Although you are at the festival to work, it is also not illegal to enjoy your time there! Get out and see shows, go to the bars with your team after your show, explore the city during the daytime if you have it free! I have come across loads of great musicians just by walking around the city and happening to hear them busking, I’ve been blown away by the amount of talent Edinburgh has to offer!

I hope these five tips help you first time Fringe Goers to have as much fun as I am!

P.s I have been working on a FRINGE VLOG during my time here, check out episode 1 and two here:

 

My thoughts on episode one of The Voice UK

My thoughts on episode one of The Voice UK

Popular TV talent show “The Voice” returned to our screens this weekend, bringing with it some new rules and new coaches as well as the return of fan favourites Will I Am and Sir Tom Jones.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this season so I sat down with an open mind. I have to be honest, I was very very underwhelmed with the standard of contestants within this first episode. None of them really got my attention or got me excited, and to be frank, some of them were awful!

There was one contestant that got my attention and made me excited and that was the final contestant “Mo” performing “Iron Sky”. I could just tell that he really wanted a turn and he really deserved it, his passion during his audition was like nothing I’d seen in a while and certainly blew the other contestants out of the water, I predict a bright future for him on the show.

The same can definitely not be said for his friend Max Vickers who performed “You Can Call Me Al”. I use the term performed very loosely.. It sounds harsh but he just couldn’t get ahold of himself or his vocal technique during this performance, he genuinely sounded and looked like he was having a fit on stage! Remarkably, he got a chair turn from of the new coaches Gavin Rossdale.

Over the last few years, the standard of performances on The Voice UK has been shocking, the American’s, Australian’s and all the other countries are blowing the UK out of the water, we don’t have a leg to stand on at the moment and we haven’t for quite some time. The shows should be about showcasing genuine talent, not about sticking someone diabolical in front of millions of people to make good TV, they’ll only end up showing themselves up in the end.

Overall, I am completely disappointed and underwhelmed by the first show, even the coaches performance (bar Jennifer Hudson) was mediocre. I hope that in episode two, things improve drastically.

My thoughts on the death of Christina Grimmie

imgres-1Christina Grimmie was a young singer and musician from America. Coming to prominence under
her Youtube name “Zeldaxlove64” she posted covers of popular songs that were championed by Youtube users across the globe.

Her first major break was around 2011 when she had the opportunity to tour with singer and former Disney star, Selena Gomez. She posted various videos documenting her time on the road with Selena and gained many more fans in doing the shows.

Through her hard work and kind nature, Christina became an idol for many, including myself. I remember being a young musician myself, spending hours watching Christina’s covers, listening to her stories from her tours and thinking “I’d love to do that”. She inspired so many people and touched so many hearts it was astonishing.

Grimmie went on to compete in the NBC talent show “The Voice” in which she came third, under the mentorship of Maroon 5 star, Adam Levine. She also released one album and one EP “Find Me” (2011) and “Side A” (2016).

Christina was tragically shot and died of her injuries earlier this week whilst signed autographs after a show in Orlando. Her tragic death came as a shock to her friends, family and fellow musicians. I am truly disgusted by this incident and I hope that Christina’s family can find some form of small comfort in this awful time.

Why someone would feel the need to end the life of someone so innocent, talented and kind hearted, I will never know, but I know that Christina’s legacy will live on for years to come and her music will continue to touch the lives of those that listen to it.

R.I.P Christina, Sleep tight, I’m so sorry.